Hello there, why not take a few seconds to register on our forums and become part of the community? Just click here.

Another question about S. dehaani bites

Discussion in 'Myriapods' started by Axolotl, Sep 10, 2019.

  1. Axolotl

    Axolotl Arachnopeon

    I've been researching possible precautions to take on the off chance I get bitten by my S. dehaani. I don't handle my centipede at all. I use long thick rose gloves and 15" tongs to feed and clean, and always do so in the bathtub in case he/she decides to make a run for it. But, I am highly allergic to many insect stings and bites -- not enough for anaphylaxis, but a recent encounter with an angry yellow jacket had me laid up for 4 days from the pain and I developed an 8" welt that around the stings.

    I can't seem to get a good handle on the effectiveness of an EpiPen for a centipede bite. Obviously, my doctors have no idea. Can anyone weigh in on whether this could be useful in reducing symptoms until I get to a hospital? And what info should I have on hand to help the doctors treat the bite? I'm guessing they don't get a lot of giant centipede bites out here in the middle of nowhere Michigan.

    Again, I do not plan to get bitten. I take extreme, if not over-the-top, precautions. This is just me planning ahead for the worst case scenario.
  2. Chris LXXIX

    Chris LXXIX ArachnoGod Active Member

    I think that, honestly, no one can give to you a proper answer. We are talking, in my opinion, about the best (read worst) venomous 'pedes ever (not only S.dehaani but Asian 'pedes in general).

    As we know that bite is brutal, but no one knows which kind of effects (secondary or not) or reactions that kind of venom may trigger into our body.

    For instance, I'm not a researcher at all but from the little I know about that kind of venom, we are in front of a something let's say more "elaborated/evoluted", rather than Theraphosidae (T's) ones... so yep, I think that technically allergic reactions may occur.

    I will say nothing new, unfortunately, but the only things we can do is max caution always and then, hospital in no time after a bite.

    I think that Docs knows best (I mean, they probably know next to zero about 'pedes but they know for sure how to deal with allergic reactions/shocks etc) but maybe this would be a good read for them:



  3. I hear all the time that people allergic to bee stings are mostly likely allergic to Tarantula bites, and quite frankly, I don’t agree with this theory. Obviously, we’re talking about a pede, but still, as far as I know, the venom composition differs between Ts and Bees, and likewise for S. dehaani and Yellow Jackets. So just because you’re allergic to one doesn’t mean you’ll have an allergic reaction to the other. And although I’ve never been bitten by an S. dehaani, I’ve heard that even morphine doesn’t ease the pain from a bite from this species. Excruciating pain seems to be the only symptom in most bites, so if you get bit, there’s really nothing you can do except wait for the pain to decline. But if you take the proper precautions (which it sounds like you do), you shouldn’t have to worry about getting bit. :)
  4. It's something that there isn't much data on and no incentive to study because the likelihood of it happening is unrealistic. Same reason we don't have lightning proof clothing. That said, I'm an entomologist and I can tell you that the venom used by centipedes evolved separately from insect venoms. While you might be allergic to wasp or bee stings, the likelihood that you are also allergic to centipede venom is about the same chance that you're also allergic to pizza. Maybe you are, maybe you aren't and if you *are* allergic there's no way of knowing to what degree. An epipen is designed to provide epinephrin to reduce swelling and raise blood pressure, so unless you're overloaded with something that counteracts the epinephrhin the epipen *should* be sufficient for most allergic emergencies.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  5. Bill S

    Bill S Arachnoprince Old Timer

    Actually, there is a wealth of information about allergies in general, which puts the speculations on allergy to centipedes into perspective. For one, allergy is an immune response gone wrong. And both allergies and immune responses require more than one exposure. When a foreign protein is introduced to the human body, three possibilities occur. First, the protein does not trigger a response. Second, it triggers a response from the immune system, antibodies are formed (in about three to seven days) and the protein is contained and removed from the body. Third, the immune response happens, but is corrupted. This is when allergies develop, and when autoimmune diseases take root. In the case of allergies - the first allergic response is on the second, third, or subsequent exposure to the SAME protein. And the response can be mild or severe, and severity usually increases with repeated exposure. The ultimate level of allergic response is anaphylactic shock, which can quickly be deadly.

    What this means in terms of centipede envenomation is that you must have at least one prior exposure to the venom to manifest an allergic reaction. The possible exception would be if centipede venom were identical to the venom of something else you had been exposed to, or if the previous venom was close enough in structure to centipede venom that the immune system mistook the centipede venom for the previous one. Venoms are different enough in bees, centipedes, and other arthropods that this is very unlikely. HOWEVER - weird things happen with the immune system. One of the deadly effects of the common flu is that there are cases in which the human immune system has mistaken heart tissue for flu germs, causing autoimmune attack on the heart muscle. (A friend of mine had to have an artificial heart because of exactly this, and he eventually died from the process.) What I think happens in such a case is that flu germs in the heart tissue draw an immune response, and the immune system then thinks the infected heart tissue is the invading protein - and redirects the response to the heart tissue itself.
    • Informative Informative x 1
  6. Actually you *can* have an allergic reaction to something you're exposed to for the first time.
    That said I'm an entomologist, *not* a doctor, don't trust medical advice from us. Just your doctor, who can pay his malpractice insurance.
    • Agree Agree x 1
    • Informative Informative x 1

  7. You may well not be allergic to Dehaani but always take precautions. Any random person will likely have an allergic reaction to a Dehaani bite even if they have zero allergies. I am allergic to absolutely nothing, but I had a severe allergic reaction to a Scolopendra Hainanum bite. Hainanum are easily as venomous and painful as Dehaani.

    We have very little data on centipede venom, but the small research that has been done shows it's very different and unique among venomous creatures.
  8. Bill S

    Bill S Arachnoprince Old Timer

    I read through most of the article, and the closest I saw to "allergic response to first time exposure" was with non-IgE reactions. As they put it:
    "Some other disorders can also be considered allergic, such as allergic contact dermatitis and hypersensitivity pneumonitis, but these do not develop by the same immunological mechanisms — that is, they do not involve IgE- and T helper 2 (TH2)-cell mediated responses — and therefore are not discussed here." (They offered poison ivy as an example.)

    Otherwise they pretty much went with what I described above. But like you, I'm not a doctor. (My wife is the medical professional in our house - worked in immunology for a while, but moved into clinical microbiology before abandoning that too for arachnology.)
  9. EtienneN

    EtienneN Arachnonovelist-musician-artist Arachnosupporter

    Yeah isn’t the ‘cocktail’ of chemicals released really long and crazy. Like correct me if I’m wrong, but scolopendra venom is about at least one if not more orders of magnitude more complex than any venom from a spider. Right?
    Any idea why the venom is so powerful? Is it because centipedes have to kill their prey faster than a spider so that the prey doesn’t bite and injure them? Centipedes are pretty fascinating. They are super primordial and are apex predators. Wish I had more space to keep cages! I’d probably start out with a nice millipede first.:D
  10. Axolotl

    Axolotl Arachnopeon

    Wow. Thank you all so much for the detailed responses. Coming from a background in evolutionary sciences, this really is a fascinating topic. I'm always in awe of Earth's creatures that haven't evolved much in the past X millions of years. I think that's what drew me to cockroaches (which then led to arachnids, which then led to myriapods, which then led to...).

    @Teds ts and Inverts This is terrifying. Morphine doesn't even relieve the symptoms? That's some crazy successful evolution right there. Anything curious enough to mess with the 'pede in the wild would certainly learn its lesson the first time. I got this guy on a whim in a trade, assuming its venom would be the same as S. subspinipes (not that they're a walk in the park by any means). The more I learn, the more I'm in awe of this group of animals.

    @Bill S This is exactly the type of info I've been hunting for. I have a whole host of allergies and autoimmune disorders, yet know very little about how allergies develop. I've yet to be bitten by a centipede of any kind, so that puts my mind at ease!

    @Chris LXXIX Thank you for the links. Not only will I be perusing those myself, but I'll be creating a little "centipede emergency fact sheet" to take with me with those links included.

    @Entomologist210 ... and now I need lightening proof clothing. :dead:
    • Like Like x 1
  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.